You don’t marry a person. You marry a family.
The speech I gave yesterday for my big sister’s wedding… ? ? ?
This speech is about family because you don’t marry a person; you marry a family. Today, you’ve married into our family. And we craaaazy. But we’re a good crazy. If you hurt my family, I’ll kill you…with my bare hands.
Our family moved 24 times collectively and forged a unique and unbreakable bond, so it’s not the easiest club to break into. Just ask Neal and Amanda.
I always tell people that the 2 best people I’ve ever met on the planet are my mom and my sister, Meagan. Annnnnd…Neal gets an honorable mention because God knows being married to me is saints work. These 3 people are kind and generous and salt. of. the. earth.
My mom woke up in the hospital after her courageous breast cancer surgery and looked around the room at her family with concern.
Mom: “Are you guys okay?”
Me [puzzled]: “Uh, yeah, Mom. We’re…uh…we’re good. How are YOU?” ?
And Meagan is the apple that didn’t fall far from that tree.
We love to tell this story in our family.
A few years back when Neal and I were newly married, the whole family was watching a Tovado family home video from a Christmas when we were stationed in Panama. Meagan was 5, I was 3, and Brandon was a teetering baby. Kat was yet to join the clan.
Brandon was swaying and wobbling on his journey to walking upright while Meagan and I were opening our stockings [which, side note, I think my dad literally filled with wrapped supplies from his work desk…”Wow, Mom and Dad! A pencil! A pack of erasers! A paper clip! Thank you!”]
Brandon, on his quest to walk unassisted, wobbled my way and fell over in the general direction of my stocking station.
Me [hovering protectively over my shiny, and questionably new office supplies]: “NO! Don’t touch my stuff! These are mine!”
Meagan immediately rushed over to help him stand up again and ushered him toward her stocking stockpile.
Meagan: “It’s okay, Brandon. You can play with my stuff.”
At this point in the nostalgic viewing party, Neal slow-panned his head to disdainfully look at me with jaw wide open.
Me [rolling my eyes]: “Don’t look at me that way. You know what you married.”
Patrick, I know that you also know who you married today.
It is difficult for me to believe that anyone can deserve her. Look at her. She is a fairytale princess. And her heart is pure gold.
But what I’ve learned about you, Patrick, is that you looooooove my sister. And that is enough. It is why I say this to you today.
You don’t marry a person, you marry a family. And it’s possible, Patrick, that you fell in love with the best of us.
Patrick and Hunter, welcome to the family. We are yours, and you are ours.
Aunt Brittany and Uncle Neal think you’re a really special person – so clever and full of big dreams. We’re excited to be a part of your life as you grow and play and learn. We love you.
I’ve only had two brothers in my life. One’s a fiery South African ginger biker and one is, well, one is Brandon (?). I proudly add you as my third brother today.
You will spend the rest of your life learning how to love my sister the way she deserves to be loved; to anticipate her kindness and reflect it back to her. And that’s just as it should be. We love you.
Thank you for teaching me how to share, and for keeping my secrets, and for defending our freedom, and for facing your fears, and for leading by example by showing us that family is making room in your heart for the unexpected.
May you always keep mystery in the fabric of your relationship.
May you get knocked up as quickly as possible.
May you make room in your hearts for little lives that will join you in the coming years.
May you always feel God turn His big, kind heart towards you.
And until we all meet again, may God hold us in the palm His hand.